Resistance to antibiotics by bacteria is on the rise, both in the hospital and in the community. Could it be that herbals might increase the effectiveness of antibiotics?

This lab study suggests it’s possible.
The aim was to look for synergism between several antimicrobial drugs and 8 plant extracts.

The antimicrobial activity of ampicillin, cefoxitin, cephalothin, chloramphenicol, cotrimoxazole, erythromycin, gentamicin, netilmicin, ofloxacin, tetracycline, and vancomycin was measured in the laboratory against S. aureus bacteria.

Extracts of plants tested included M. glomerata (guaco), P. guajava (guava), B. trimera (carqueja), M. piperita (peppermint), C. citrates (lemongrass), A. sativum (garlic), S. aromaticum (clove), and Z. officinale (ginger).

The antibiotic, tetracycline showed synergism with all the extracts, followed by chloramphenicol and netilmicim. The synergistic capacity was promising for the extracts of S. aromaticum, C. citrates, and P. guajava.

Yes, these are preliminary findings. But could the answer (or at least part of the answer) to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance be found in the extracts of herbal plants?

1/17/07 21:37 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.